DEADWOOD | South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard said this week he supports efforts to gut portions of Initiated Measure 22, the so-called Anti-Corruption Act that state voters narrowly approved last month.
“This has lots of problems with it — constitutional issues,” Daugaard said while visiting Deadwood on Thursday. “Voters were misled.”
Among its provisions, the 34-page, 14,000-word law, which took effect Nov. 16, caps annual gifts to legislators at $100, calls for creation of an ethics commission and would require the state to allocate $5 million per year for the public financing of campaigns. That effectively robs state funds that would be better used on education and Medicaid, the governor said.
“This is a bad law,” Daugaard said. “It’s irresponsible.”
The governor’s comments came on the heels of a lawsuit filed earlier this week by a dozen South Dakota lawmakers and a conservative Rapid City organization, Family Heritage Alliance, who both claim they would face illegal conflicts.
Daugaard said South Dakota voters were “deceived” by $1 million in campaign advertising, funded by out-of-state interests, that favored the measure.
The campaign to pass IM 22 received its funding almost entirely from a group called Represent.Us based in Florence, Mass. For its South Dakota campaign, the organization channeled nearly $664,000 from hundreds of small donors throughout the nation and directly donated about $633,000. Represent.Us also provided about $55,000 in in-kind services.
Additional funding flowed into the IM 22 campaign in the early days of November from allies, such as $50,000 from Every Voice, based in Washington, D.C., another $22,000 from Represent.Us, and a combined total of $2,500 from several contributors.
Daugaard indicated the initiated measure was a wayward attempt to solve a problem in South Dakota that doesn’t exist.
“We already have laws against bribery. It’s even in the constitution,” he said. “If there’s bribery occurring, show me the examples, and let’s charge those people and prosecute them. But don’t mislead the voters.”